The bill to fix Auckland's chronic traffic congestion over the coming decade has increased by $1.9 billion, according to a report released by Transport Minister Simon Bridges today.
The extra money is needed to bring forward projects stemming from the city's rapid growth, including a number of new roads and $700m for mass transit bus or light rail between the city and Mt Roskill.
New roading projects include the $240m Penlink project between Whangaparoa and SH1, albeit a two-lane road future proofed for widening; $300m for arterial roads around Warkworth, Silverdale and Wainui; a $300m extension of SH1 between Albany and Grand Drive; and $500m for the Mill Rd highway between Manukau and Drury.
Labour's priority is to build a 21st century rapid transit system we think is imperative for Auckland to fix congestion
Bridges released the update to the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (Atap) - a joint Government-Auckland Council transport programme - after copies were distributed by Labour's Auckland Issues spokesman Phil Twyford yesterday.
The update said Auckland's population has grown by more than 100,000 people from the figures in the first Atap report in September last year, setting out a $24b investment package over the first decade.
The $24b package included $4b of unfunded spending, which has now risen to $5.9b. The funding gap for the first three years has risen from $380m to $1.3b.
Bridges said the $5.9b has to be sourced from the Government, council and the private sector.
Last week, the Herald revealed that National was bringing forward $2.6b of projects in the Atap programme, including the Mill Rd project and $835m for a Northwestern busway.
Days later, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern announced an ambitious plan to build a $3b light rail network in Auckland from the city to the airport and the city to Westgate in 10 years. This would be followed by light rail to the North Shore.
Labour also promised to allow Auckland Council to introduce a regional petrol tax to help fund its share of the Atap programme. A figure of 10 cents a litre has been suggested, which would raise about $100m a year.
Twyford said the Atap update had a National flavour about it and Labour would renegotiate it with a different set of priorities. He would not commit to $1.5b of roading projects in the update Atap report, including Penlink and Mill Rd.
"Labour's priority is to build a 21st century rapid transit system we think is imperative for Auckland to fix congestion," Twyford said.
Bridges said the update identifies faster growth in north and south Auckland, requiring some transport investment to be brought forward to support new housing developments in these areas.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomed the agreement with Government to spend more on Auckland transport infrastructure and bring forward major transport projects.
"Unprecedented population growth has outstripped previous projections and the need to invest in our transport infrastructure more quickly is critical.
"Auckland adds 45,000 people a year and our transport system is not coping. Council and Government have identified the need to lift transport spending from $24 billion to nearly $27 billion and bring forward a range of major projects to address growing transport congestion," Goff said.
Meanwhile, Auckland Transport today announced funding for three new road projects in Albany totalling about $60m.
They are a new link road between Gills Road and Oteha Valley Road, a new link road between Medallion Drive and Fairview Avenue and an upgrade of the Dairy Flat Highway between Stevenson Crescent and Gills Road.
The Dairy Flat Highway intersection with The Avenue and Lucas Creek Bridge will also be upgraded.